WWE could easily be considered to be a conveyor belt, and for every new Superstar that WWE signs, there is someone who will be facing the axe.
Back in 2014 WWE released many faces because the WWE Network had not been as successful as they thought it would be in the early months. There hasn't been an overhaul this big since and given that WWE has signed many new Cruiserweight stars and many UK Championship competitors, it feels as though there should be one in the coming months.
There are many stars right now who have been injured and haven't returned for months, whilst there are a lot of stars in NXT who are yet to make the desired impact. These stars could be set to face the world of Independent wrestling in 2018 because it's unlikely that WWE will keep such a heavy wage bill for another year
Here is a list of 15 Superstars who could make the switch to life without a contract after this year, or they could well be part of WWE's latest overhaul in a few months time.
15 Curt Hawkins
It's hard to not feel bad for Curt Hawkins, he was fired by WWE back in 2014 when the company decided that his time in the spotlight had run its course. Following the WWE Draft last summer, Hawkins was then brought back with his 'face the facts' gimmick that no one is able to take seriously.
It looks as though Shelton Benjamin was the man who WWE wanted to return to SmackDown last year but he was forced onto the sidelines before he could even re-debut and so Hawkins was the best replacement WWE could find. He has fallen back into the same spot he was in when he was released a few years ago, and it seems as though WWE never really had a plan for his return at all.
14 Bo Dallas
Poor Bo Dallas. It was only a few years ago that Bo was NXT Champion. He was one of the best prospects coming up to the main roster and played a big role in the Royal Rumble to set up a feud with Wade Barrett that year. Fast forward to now and Bo hasn't been on WWE TV for a very long time.
Last time he was seen was back in October before WWE recently brought him back to job out to Kofi Kingston. Bo's real life brother Bray Wyatt is currently WWE Champion, and Bo is stuck being force-fed Booty O's by The New Day. It comes to a point when Bo has to decide if he can stay on the sidelines his whole career, or if he wants to make an impact whilst he's still in his prime.
13 Jack Swagger
Jack Swagger is a former World Heavyweight Champion. He is the first person to be drafted to Raw and decide that he wanted to go to SmackDown because there is more competition, but then after a few weeks, he has once again disappeared.
Swagger was the only member of the active SmackDown roster who wasn't part of Elimination Chamber. WWE made the conscious decision not to include him in the event. Swagger is a talented, technical Superstar and if he decided to cut ties with WWE then he could make a decent living from the Independent scene. It feels as though right now he would be cutting his losses because he might be the first one WWE decide to look at when they are looking for candidates for release later in the year.
12 Summer Rae
The dancing Summer Rae is a former member of Total Divas and a former NXT Superstar. WWE made a mistake putting her with Fandango, but she still has proved on the main roster that she can actually wrestle when given the chance. The problem is, that she is rarely given the chance.
Current Raw General Manager Mick Foley threw a lot of shade at Summer when he was asked about the Women's Division and he joked that someone like Summer wouldn't be able to main event Raw, which is harsh because given the chance she probably could. WWE obviously have no belief in her and she hasn't been seen on WWE TV in almost a year, maybe it's time for a change.
11 Curtis Axel
Where is Curtis Axel? He's a third generation Superstar who was given a push for a while. He was even given the chance to work with Paul Heyman, but all that went downhill quite fast. Much like Damien Sandow and Axel's short-lived Mega Powers reunion.
Axel has now instead been reduced to jobbing out as an enhancement talent or not being used on WWE TV at all. He should have followed his former friend Damien Sandow when he was released last year, but something must have saved him, whatever it was it has only delayed the inevitable. WWE don't need Curtis Axel anymore so why don't they release him and allow him to go and work on the Independent Scene whilst he is still able to make a name for himself.
10 Eva Marie
It's probably a push to think that Eva Marie could ever make the move into Independent wrestling promotions, especially considering that she hardly wrestles right now. Eva hasn't been seen on WWE TV since she was suspended before SummerSlam last year and it is thought that WWE currently has no plans to bring her back.
There was talk that Eva could be hanging up her hardly used wrestling boots to take up a career making films, which the WWE Universe would be completely open to, but that hasn't been officially announced yet. It will be interesting to see what Eva is actually doing in a year's time, though. Will she ever be considered to be a wrestler by the WWE Universe? Could the Independent scene be a new start for her?
9 Darren Young
Darren Young is a solid mid-card performer at best, he is never going to be pushed to the main event picture of WWE because he just doesn't have anything about him that you could even consider that would make him seem different or even allow him to stand out.
Darren is like many other wrestlers on any independent circuit, he is very much a prototype and that is all he's ever going to be, his storyline with Bob Backlund did not turn into anything worth shouting about and it seems as though Darren has just become a laughing stock. I think the next batch of releases will definitely have his name on them, there is no need for him in WWE anymore, the company obviously have no further plans for him.
8 Titus O'Neil
Titus O'Neil and Darren Young were once quite a good tag team. The Prime Time Players were never the best team in WWE, but it was something that kept Young and O'Neil busy while the rest of the roster moved forward.
Even when the team split up they had a lacklustre argument and a few below par matches that showed there was a little bit of hate between them, before they moved on into singles careers. It hasn't been a good few month for either of these guys and if Titus didn't look the way he did after he manhandled Vince a while ago, and was obviously suspended for it, then he would definitely already have been released. It's quite a shock that he hasn't yet.
7 The Shining Stars
This team is obviously a package deal. So if one goes then the other will follow. Whether they are Primo and Epico, Diego and Fernando of Los Matadores or even The Shining Stars, it seems that these two will never be taken seriously by WWE.
Primo and Epico haven't been put into a Tag Team title match based on merit over the past few years. It has always been to make up the numbers. They will never be used as a credible team and the more times WWE decide to repackage them, the less the WWE Universe will care. It's harsh but the nicest thing that WWE can do for these two stars is allow them to be themselves. They don't need a silly gimmick to get over and they will prove that once they walk away from WWE.
Emma was once a credible wrestler while she was a heel in NXT, before WWE decided to bring her up to the main roster and then completely change her gimmick into something that WWE fans won't accept.
Emmalina took way too soon to debut and when she did it was determined that she wasn't playing the role well enough in rehearsals so they decided to pull the plug and allow Emma to then go back to being the heel that she was before. Emma will not be taken seriously by the WWE Universe again after this back and forth with her character, and it was already hard to see how Emma would fit in with the Women's Division after she had been out so long and was still recovering from surgery.
5 Erick Rowan
Erick Rowan has managed to come out of The Wyatt Family as perhaps the weakest link. Luke Harper, Randy Orton, and Bray Wyatt are former Tag Team Champions while Harper is a former Intercontinental Champion as well. When Rowan was injured back in August WWE brought in Luke Harper to take his place and so far Harper has done a much better job.
It is hard to see where Rowan will fit into this family feud, especially since it looks to be heading towards a Triple Threat match at WrestleMania. Rowan will always be considered to be the weak link, and coming back into WWE after injury as a solo competitor could be something that WWE would rather not see. Rowan is a talented wrestler, he just isn't being used to his strengths. Maybe Independent promotions will change this.
4 James Ellsworth
James Ellsworth was supposed to be a flash in the pan. He was supposed to job out to Braun Strowman and never be seen again. Instead WWE brought him back for an amusing few months with A.J. Styles and Dean Ambrose, but this has run its cause now and it's time for WWE to trim the fat.
Ellsworth is just stupidly taking up time on TV now with Carmella, who also deserves much better from WWE. It won't be long before WWE see what the WWE Universe have been able to see for a while, and that is that James has become stale and he needs to go. There is nothing more WWE could possibly do with him. He would be great as a comedy wrestler every now and then, but as a full-time star, he's just become boring.
3 Tyler Breeze
Tyler Breeze was kept down in NXT for much longer than any other star. He was kept there so that WWE could ensure that he wasn't called up to the main roster and rushed like many other stars who have been promoted before him. WWE was hoping that Tyler would be different and that they would ensure he was a success.
That being said, Breeze was taken into a feud with Dolph Ziggler before he joined forces with Fandango and now the group is basically a joke. Tyler would be taken much seriously anywhere but WWE. Independent wrestling could be the answer for Breeze. WWE will be looking at him and Fandango when they are looking to make their budget much lighter. So Breeze should really be looking for options outside of WWE right now.
2 Mojo Rawley
The former Hype Bro has lost his tag team partner after Zack Ryder was forced onto the sidelines with a knee injury and has since been on a good run as a solo competitor. He has Triple H pushing for him and he has stated many times how much of a hard worker he is.
Sadly, it takes so much more to become a successful WWE Superstar. Mojo Rawley doesn't have a proper connection with the WWE Universe and like many other stars on this list, his gimmick has reached the point of no return. Even with Zack at his side it is hard to see them getting very far as a tag team. Mojo is there for a laugh and at some point, it stops being funny. When it all becomes serious, that is where he will be forced to decide his own fate.
1 Tamina Snuka
Tamina Snuka is the daughter of WWE Legend Jimmy 'Superfly' Snuka and even though she is a second generation female, she hasn't been pushed like many other stars. Tamina is considered to be a WWE veteran, but she has never won a WWE title and she is yet to be the main part of any WWE rivalry.
Tamina has been forced onto the sidelines after an injury in 2016 and she returned at recent Live Events following the death of her father. Tamina will find it hard to fit back into the Women's Division and it could well be the time for Tamina to re-evaluate her career and decide whether or not a career on the Independent scene is for her. It may not be a wise option, but it is a worthy option.
Leave A Comment
Looking for an AD FREE EXPERIENCE on TheSportster?Get Your Free Access Now!